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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2008

Wathan penalty leaves bench thin

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Mud Hens infielder Derek Wathan was suspended for two games by the International League yesterday as a result of an incident that took place in Toledo's win over Indianapolis Tuesday.

Wathan was not on the bench for last night's contest and also will not be available for today's game after his "aggressive behavior and contact with an International League umpire," according to the IL.

The ejection was sparked by Wathan's at-bat in the seventh inning Tuesday. Wathan pulled a pitch down the right-field line into the Roost that originally was called fair by first-base umpire David Rackley, a call that was overruled by home-plate umpire Pete Pederson.

"I know it was a tough call, because I was at first base at the time and I couldn't tell," Wathan said of the call. "The first-base ump had the best view, and he was closer than anyone, so I thought it would stand.

"They overturned it because apparently the guy at home plate had a better view, and that doesn't make any sense at all - he's about 100 yards further away from the play."

But Wathan wasn't ejected then; the play that caused the ejection came with the Hens in the field in the eighth. Toledo pitcher Clay Rapada picked Andrew McCutchen off first, and first baseman Jeff Larish forced the runner towards second. Larish threw the ball to Wathan, who tried to sweep-tag McCutchen as he ran past, but third-base ump David Uyl ruled McCutchen safe.

"After that, I lost my cool and it was a mess," Wathan admitted. "I didn't think the ump [who made the call] had the best view, because I was between him and the runner."

Wathan is the second Mud Hen suspended this year. The first was manager Larry Parrish, who received a four-game suspension for arguing a home-run-ruled-foul-ball in mid-June. But Wathan said he thinks the number of ejections these days is fewer than in years past.

"When you see the old clips of the '70s and '80s, I think it [ejecting players] was more predominant then," Wathan said. "Earlier in the year it was the same kind of deal - they overturned a call when the guy who made the call had the best angle.

"I can understand it if there's a circumstance where an ump said he was blocked by a player or something like that, but to overturn it in this circumstance doesn't make sense."

EMPTY BENCH: An unintended result of Wathan's ejection was the Mud Hens were left with no one on the bench yesterday.

Before the game the parent Tigers promoted catcher Dane Sardinha to replace Pudge Rodriguez following the trade with the Yankees. Wathan was suspended, and shortstop Danny Worth was not available because of continued shoulder problems.

"Obviously I regret [the suspension] - especially now, since we're thin," Wathan said. "The last thing I want to do is make our team thin. Hopefully we can get through it."

Parrish said Worth will have an MRI on his shoulder today, and his status is uncertain.

Parrish said that pitcher Chris Lambert would have been used had the Hens needed another hitter or position player, and that outfielder Freddy Guzman would have caught if Max St-Pierre had been injured.

Batting practice pitcher Joe Hall, a former Mud Hen, served as the team's bullpen catcher yesterday.

The Mud Hens will get catcher Dusty Ryan from Double-A Erie today to replace Sardinha. Ryan has hit .251 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs in 82 games for the SeaWolves.

THREE-DOT DATA: Timo Perez singled in the ninth to extend his current hit streak to 12 games. Last night's crowd of 8,981 was the 200th sellout in Fifth Third Field history. The full house was the Hens' 25th this year. Oak Harbor's Wade Ishmael claimed the title in the finals of the Mud Hens' home run derby following yesterday's game.



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